The Bag Lady Photos

Inspired by losing her life savings to Bernie Madoff, The Daily Beast’s Alexandra Penney produced a series of photographs featuring dolls who suffered the same fate. VIEW OUR GALLERY.

Cheap, plastic blow-up dolls (aka "The Girls”) have been the focus of my photography for the past six years. During the Age of Excess, they were living high off the hogs and little piggies of Wall Street, dressed in fake Guccis and Puccis, draped with faux Cartier and Graff and decked out with Hong Kong Birkins, Vuittons, and trophy babies. Their plastic faces and huge lips and breasts, represented in saturated digital color, were symbols of artifice and desire. Their gaping mouths were lustful and greedy. And forever ravenous.

Then in December 2008, I lost my life's savings to Bernie Madoff, aka the MF. I landed a book deal for The Bag Lady Papers, which began on The Daily Beast.

Click Image to View Our Gallery of Alexandra Penney's "After Madoff"

I spent my days writing in the mornings and photographing the dolls committing suicide in the afternoon. They too had lost their dough. When they couldn't connive and consume they turned into black and white and had nothing left to live for.

Monique drowned herself when she found out the bank owned the mansion. Dara hurled herself under the repossessed Bentley, and poor Betty-Anne collapsed into the trash from whence she came.

Take note, however. The dolls are dead but there is no doubt in my mind that they will very creatively devise ways to reinvent themselves with hot air—very soon.

Alexandra Penney’s “After Madoff” is on exhibit at Galerie Haas & Fuchs in New York through February 27.